06 March 2017

Interns reflect: first week on the job

Three new interns are thrilled to join SAHA's team for the March intake of South African graduate interns. Nonhlanhla Khumalo joins SAHA as part of the FOIP team, this is her first legal work experience; Kerry Clark joins the SFJP team ; and Selasi Akrong, a Bcom Law graduate joins the Support Services team. These are Nonhlanhla, Kerry and Selasi's reflections on their first week on the job.

Nonhlanhla Khumalo

With a busy week of orientation over, I find it amazing how easily I adapted to the new work environment.

On the first day of my internship I remember stepping into the office feeling nervous, as I am the only new Freedom of Information Programme (FOIP) intern. I was uncertain of how well I would fit in at SAHA and how my first legal internship would play out. I was given an overview of the work of FOIP, in particular, how the programme uses the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA) to work towards the realisation of the right of access to information and to encourage the public and private bodies to act in accordance with the statutory provisions of the PAIA. Subsequently, I had to carry out various tasks as part of my orientation and this presented me an opportunity to draft a PAIA request. I was taught how to submit access to information requests, (PAIA requests) using the SAHA PAIA Request Tracker to both public and private bodies. At first the orientation programme felt overwhelming, however, as the week progressed things unfolded smoothly and I began to understand the work as well as the role I would play as a FOIP intern.

I find it inspirational to work with SAHA's existing team and it is always easy to consult any of the team members whenever I come across challenges with work. The team is devoted to assisting members of society to access information and they are understanding and supportive. There is hardly a moment spent in the office sitting at the desk with nothing to do.

I am convinced that by the end of the internship programme I will have gained working experience which is likely to surpass the highest expectations I had on the professional legal training that the programme provides to its interns.

Selasi Akrong

My first week at SAHA was overwhelming. Although the orientation plan carefully laid out the objectives to be met, I found that the best way to truly grasp the work was to dive right into it.

The Support Services division at SAHA is the heart of the organisation. Most activities relating to the work done, financial administration and the general day-to-day operations at SAHA is the responsibility of Support Services. My favourite part of the orientation was familiarising myself with the filing system and learning how to process payments.

I anticipate that my time spent at SAHA will be filled with learning curves and triumphs. I am grateful to be surrounded by an immensely supportive and dedicated team. I hope to come out on the other side of this internship with invaluable experience that will serve me well in my future career endeavours.